I shared on Thursday that I’ve been reading some rather controversial books. I shared about The Shack on Thursday. Today I want to share with you about the Twilight series.
I tend to be drawn to historical fiction in general. Reading a book about vampires is not anywhere on my radar screen because I like “reality” rather than fantasy. Just ask my husband…I don’t even care for Narnia because it’s not “real.” (Yes, I understand it’s a metaphor for the Christian life—but I prefer the real thing rather than a metaphorical story!)
So several months ago my 12-year-old son wanted to read the Twilight series. I knew very little about the series, but I felt I couldn’t say “yes” or “no” unless I really knew what I was talking about. So I reluctantly began reading book one of the series. I’m currently on book three. It’s entertaining reading but honestly I’m extremely concerned that so many pre-teens and teens are reading the series.
Why? Because the book is not about “young love” like so many say it is. I don’t believe it’s innocent fiction. The relationship between Bella and Edward would be described as obsessive. If Edward is in her life, Bella is wonderful. If Edward is absent from her life, Bella is emotionally distraught.
Even though Edward is “noble” about waiting for sex, Bella’s desire to have pre-marital sex is woven throughout the books. I would go as far as saying that she is obsessed with having sex and she is vehemently opposed to marriage. The sexual tension is described many times, especially as the series continues. Honestly, no junior higher or high schooler needs any of this as their “role model” for teenage relationships.
I remember watching the movies “Footloose,” “Grease,” and “The Breakfast Club” in junior high and high school. I remember reading Danielle Steele romance novels later in high school. I KNOW these affected my perception (or should I say misperceptions) of romance and relationships.
If your kids have been asking to read this series, I would say no. I’ve told Austin that. He’s not happy because it seems that he’s the only 7th grader who isn’t reading the books (he’s also informed me that he’s the only 7th grader who doesn’t have a cell phone, too–but we’ll save that for another post!).
If you have a son or daughter who is already reading the series or has read any of the books in the series, I suggest that you read the books yourself and engage your child in a discussion about some of the less-than-ideal elements of the books.
Our kids need us to step into their world and engage them in discussing the things their friends are talking about. And everyone in the teenage world seems to be talking about the Twilight series and now the Twilight movies.
As moms…we need to know what we’re talking about and be willing to lead our kids to make good choices.
What about you? Are there any books, movies, or television shows that you have chosen to say no to?
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Would it be beneficial to let him read the books and engage in discussions as you mention to those whose kids are already reading? I don’t have kids yet in that position except for being irritated at the poor grammar and attitude of Junie B. Jones books. I just wonder if him not reading the books gives his imagination more fuel to think the books are really good without letting him see why they are so unsavory. Perhaps the Twilight material is too mature for him at this point. I haven’t read them and you obviously know your son and I do not. Just curious.
I am so thankful for your post.
It gave a good perspective to a challenging topic. I appreciate your desire to parent with purpose- not just concerned about children feeling “happy” for the moment!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I’ve heard so much on this series from Christians and non-Christians about how great they are. Books/movies that become such hits for so many always concern me. I’ve wondered what all the hype was about and if I should read them to find out for myself. From what I’ve read about them I don’t think I’d enjoy it, and after reading your post I know I wouldn’t.
I haven’t had this issue yet since our son is only 4.
Good question. Just like we are careful about what we feed our body, I think we need to be careful about what we feed our mind. This would be considered “junk food” for the brain and is not healthy for any teen to read because it’s not feeding them truth, it’s feeding them lies. And those lies contribute to their perceptions of themselves, their sexuality, and relationships. Our kids minds are so tender and easily influenced!
Thank you so much for this review. Although neither of my older girls have showed interest in reading the series or watching the movie, they do have friends who have. I’ve wondered what it was all about, but haven’t persued digging into it since my kiddos haven’t shown interest. I did forward your review onto family and friends…they have been just as appreciative as I for your review.
I was also encouraged by your choice to stand your ground on what you believe rather than giving in so your son can be “happy” and like the other kids. Just this past week my 6 year old son once again asked if he could ride his bike without me being with him. He knows the rule is he must be 7 before he is allowed to play in the front yard and before he is allowed to ride without me. This week he went up to his room and cried…really cried from his heart because he couldn’t go ride with his older sisters. It broke my heart, but I knew if I let him win this battle (one I feel strongly about) then it will be tough for me to stand my ground when bigger issues arise later in life. Things such as reading material, cell phones, and I’m sure much more. I felt encouraged that although for a minute I did question my stance on the bike issue, that I did make the right choice. Thank you for this piece of encouragement as well.
I guess I was thinking if he had knowledge of the material he may have standing to let his friends know its junk. Too much pressure for a 12 year old? Things I’ll need to know if a few years!
Thanks for your honesty. My daughter is 11 and son 13. They haven’t voiced any desire to read the books – they’re homeschooled and that might be why. If they do want to read them (right now my son is addicted to Ted Dekker), I’ll keep this post in mind!
I haven’t read the books but I did watch the first movie as prep for a True Love Waits class I’m teaching. Our first session was on protecting the mind.
In another book I read by Hayli DiMarco called Technical Virgin, she rightly explains how a boy uses romance to get sex while a girl will have sex believing she’ll gain romance. She goes on to explain that for a girl/woman, romance novels are like our ‘p*rn’ because they grossly distort the reality of relationships and what we can expect from the opposite sex. I think these books, as well as other romance books and movies, cause that same result.
With that said, I’ve really challenged my girls to understand the effects of reading the books and if they are really causing them to be closer to Christ or rather enticing them to have lustful/romantic thoughts.
Great discussion…thanks for braving it! :))
i love these books actually. for me they are my entertainment. and as a stay at home mom of 3, i need an escape once in a while and this series did it for me. even gave me the teenage butterfly feelings for my husband. my 8 year old daughter watched the movie with us, but knows she is not allowed to read the books till she’s at least 16. there’s just mature emotions that she won’t be ready for. i have a small group of friends who read the twilight series, are great moms, and wonderful christain women.
I think this is a very interesting post Jill and you gave me food for thought. I totally agree that junior highers are really not able to process the emotions involved in the twilight series. One point that you said about obsessive love was something that stuck out in my mind because I never gave it a thought. So I was wondering how you feel about Romeo and Juliet because their love borders on obsessive and adulterous but it is considered a classic and is taught in most if not all schools.
I do not want to come across as accusatory because I agree with you that Junior High is way to early to read these books but I also sometimes wonder if we as Christians are doing a disservice to our children by sheltering them from the world? This blog is not what I am speaking about but other things I have read about the series seem to be that way. I have found that my knowlege of the books has given me a chance to speak with several hurting teenagers about how God and Edward have many characteristics that are similar.
Sorry for the rant but this topic has given me much to think about today and wanted to know what others think?
I read the first book out of boredom and was quickly "sucked in". I read the second book online because the bookstore was closed. The more I read the second book the more I was making connections with the occult (covens,transformations,etc). Even if someone doesnt believe there is that kind of activity today, there is no mistake for the other themes that just plain against the word of God. Lust,Envy,and Hatred to name a few.
I think it is our jobs as parents to somewhat "shelter" our children from the world. Not that they are to be oblivious to the world around them, but to understand that the things of this world are not for Christians to participate in. Its good to discuss these things with the kids and let them understand why , as parents, we feel it is wrong. For example: I dont let me 6 & 8 yr old watch "Hannah Montana" or "ICarly". They know that I dont agree with the way the kids act on the show and I have explained why. Every time it comes on they tell me so I can turn it off. Every parent just needs to decide for themselves what they feel is best for their child…..Sorry for the long post! Lons post short – I think you made a great choice for your son. In a few days he will be forgetting all about it!
I know this site is mainly a “mom” place and I am one of a toddler, but I am interested in what affect the Twilight books simply had on you all as married women? A woman in my young marrieds Bible study has read the books and she reported that is was almost wrecking her love life with her spouse. She was comparing the fictional romance to her married reality and you can guess which one was coming up short. What a tool for the evil one to use on adult women as well as teens. Despite being an avid reader, I’m avoiding the books and movies despite the curiosity they’ve created.
I would have to agree. I think many romance novels in general can be to women like pornography is to men. It sets the emotional stakes so high that no real man could ever meet them. Thanks for adding that to the discussion!
Jill, I’m totally with you. BUT–Before we give Edward too much credit for being noble–let’s remember that the reason he doesn’t want to have pre-marital sex is because he’s afraid he might EAT HER in the process. (I had to laugh a little at this 🙂 ) I read the first, and while it makes for interesting reading, their relationship is stunningly crazy and unhealthy. When he admits he’s been coming into her room at night to watch her sleep, she’s flattered?!?! In real life, that girl would run screaming.
A series that I, as an 18 year old girl, would recommend to other teenage girls is The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. It's a Christian fiction series. The characters in these books are so real and have become just like good friends to me.
These books have reminded me over and over again how important it is to let God lead, to surround yourself with God Lovers (as the characters call themselves!), and to stay pure & to keep high standards in dating.
I promise that after reading the first book any teenage girl (or yourself!) will definitely be hooked!
(If you're interested in them, check out: http://www.christianbook.com)